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Gambia, The

Last Updated: 06 June 2000
Still Current at: 14 December 2000

In light of rebel attacks on the UN peacekeeping forces in Sierra Leone, we believe UK citizens and organisations could become targets to RUF sympathisers in areas of West Africa, including the Gambia.

On 10 April, confrontations between students and security forces in a number of areas of Greater Banjul led to incidents of vandalism, looting and attacks on police and fire stations. There were a number of casualties. The situation in and around Banjul appears calm. On 11 April there were reports of further unrest and casualties in rural areas of The Gambia, including Barra, Brikama, Brikama Ba, Farafenni, Georgetown and Basse. Tourists are recommended to follow the advice of their tour representatives and the British High Commission in Banjul. Tourists should be vigilant and exercise caution away from their hotels.

Medical facilities in The Gambia are not of a similar standard to the UK. Water-borne diseases and malaria are prevalent. Although malaria is most common between May and October, anti-malarial prophylaxis should be taken all year. Before travelling visitors should take out insurance to cover repatriation.

Visitors should obtain up to date medical advice on the appropriate vaccinations required and carry their vaccination certificate with them. Travellers to neighbouring Senegal have been asked to show their Yellow Fever vaccination certificate on arrival there.

Many roads in The Gambia are unlit and caution should be exercised when walking at night. During the rainy season pot-holes on roads are common and care is needed when driving. Visitors should be aware that there were exchanges of gunfire during arrests made on 15 and 17 January in Banjul. Although mugging of tourists is rare, visitors should not take valuables to the beach when bathing or display valuables in public. Most tourist beaches have a police or security presence to assist tourists and visitors.

Visitors are advised against travelling in the Casamance region (the area at Senegal due south of The Gambia), apart from Cap Skirring (which can be reacked by direct flights from Dakar and charger flights from Europe), until an agreement between the government and the rebel movement has been reached. Visitors who do travelto Cap Skirring should not leave the resort due to the risk of attack. There have been recent rebel rocket attacks around Ziguinchor resulting in civilian casualties. There is a danger of undetected mines and from armed bandits who have held up travellers venturing beyond Ziguinchor.

Visitors should note that The Gambia will take strong action against anyone importing or exporting drugs or contraband. Visitors should not accept any packages on behalf of anyone without knowing the contents.

British Diplomatic Missions in Gambia, The: contact details

For medical and inoculations advice, contact your GP. The Department of Health's Health Advice for Travellers website provides travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK. The site advises on health risks around the world and how to avoid them, a country-by-country immunisation checklist and how to obtain medical treatment abroad.
Visa information is available from the relevant Embassy/Consulate in London.
FCO Travel Advice is also displayed on BBC2 CEEFAX (see p470 for details). NB: While every care has been taken in preparing these notes, neither Her Majesty's Government nor any member of the British Consular Staff abroad can accept liability for injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.

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